Thursday, June 7, 2012
Reflections of a full heart
PS - my iPad does not recognize line breaks - very sorry it looks like one giant paragraph! I am still in denial that my African adventure is over, and that I have to wait a year to return. My heart is brimming with emotion, encouragement, and excitement. God is tangibly at work, even in the worst conditions. I will continue to pray for the children, their families, and their community. Their village, Kinyago, is where we visited. It was in the most repulsive of conditions that God reminded me of the beauty, grace, and fullness that can only come from Him. He is our creator and sustainer; He delivered us from our deserved consequences through the author and perfecter of our faith, our Lord Jesus Christ. God is sovereign through it all, even in that one room "home" surrounded by crime, idleness, and extreme poverty. God has allowed me to experience this for His glory, and I praise Him because He will not allow me to forget it. To give you the smallest shred of perspective, Alice and her family moved into that room in a different location because the family could not afford the rent of 200ksh a month - which brings up an entirely different set of questions - rent in the midst of this shanty village - 200 Kenyan shillings is about $2.40. For the month...and they could not afford that. It really makes you question certain lifestyle choices. During our finally debriefing, we answered these questions. I encourage you to answer them. If you can't answer them, spend more time with your Perfect creator - He delights in you, and deeply desires an intimate relationship with every one of His children. I praise God for: I thank God for: One thing God reminded me or showed me: One thing I will not complain about at home anymore: My goal is to not complain. There is grace in everything, and thankfulness abounding as we are surrounded by an abundance of peace. Traffic in Atlanta, you will not defeat me! (especially after surviving the roads of Nairobi in rush hour!) I praise God for this experience! Ephesians 3:20 rings true every time - God has wildly exceeded my expectations. I learned to love Him more deeply, prayed for His word to burrow into places of my heart that I didn't realize, and for my understanding of Him to grow. His ways are higher than my ways, and His thoughts higher than mine. I find great comfort in this. God's plan, timing, and story of creation is in motion, regardless of my feeble attempts to make sense of my surroundings. I am blessed to take part in this moment that will extend into eternity. His grace is sufficient! Praise Him! It's been such an emotional ride, but God has equipped me so beautifully and perfectly, as He always does. I read this article while waiting to depart for the next chapter in my travels - http://www.relevantmagazine.com/god/deeper-walk/features/29311-why-do-christians-need-to-make-it-all-better - and it was just another reminder that God is always at work, and it is ok to grieve for my Kenyan friends. I don't have to pretend it's all going to get better, and I don't have to pretend I'm ok. All I can do is lean confidently intp the One who created me and sustains me - He will do the same for His children in Kinyago. As it stands, it is better to love people than to know all the answers. I thank God for unmerited grace, unending love, a desire to know me and the ability to know Him, for my amazing team, the children, the dedicated staff of KDS, and all of the amazing support I've had from friends and family while I've been gone. I thank God for the immense blessings He has provided me with, and I pray to be a good steward of them. I thank God for the stirring in my heart and the ability to provide for the newest members of my African family. My momma added precious Hannah, a fourth grader with a glowing smile, to her family. Together, our family grew from three to six - how awesome is that?? Evelyn in third grade, Samuel in sixth grade, Samson in seventh grade, Alvin in second grade, and Boniface in fourth grade. Another friend also began sponsoring to sweet boys in third grade, Jev and Martin. God is SO good. Sharing gifts, as an overzealous muzungu was very special this year (just the same as those I quietly admonished for creating a sense of entitlement, dependency, and lack of respect for the authority in place at KDS....) Yes, I became that sponsor with a small toy store in tow. It was so beautiful to see Samson, the oldest boy, help moderate between the younger kids. It was also so beautiful to see that child-like spark ignite when simple toys were presented-it was such a gift! Simplicity is not lost! It was also a special moment to be passing out the child's items (bibles, toys, candy-hey! I am only there once a year!!) and bags for each - again Samson helped. I had two reusable baby tiger bags (very masculine, obviously) that I passed out last -again it special to see him serve the others first, then himself last. The first shall be last, and the last first! I am thankful for visiting the form one students that I taught two and three years ago. I am thankful for the work God is doing through them and I am encouraged. They are the game-changers of this continent!! I am thankful for my team. For their encouragement, challenge, support and love. I will miss them dearly! The exuberance of some, the calming spirits of others, the rich prayers, the hearts full of joy, for igniting a deeper will to want to know God better, to love better, and be more like the Perfect One. Yesu Kristu - Our example. I am thankful that I had the privilege to see first-hand what God is doing in Kenya, and that I get to share it. I thank Lin for my word from God - "zeal." May this fire in my heart never extinguish. Africa, you have my heart. Sweet friends, Do justice, love kindness, and forever walk humbly with your God! This is not good bye, but see you soon! Nakupenda!